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Israeli forces detain 23 Palestinians in predawn West Bank raids

Feb. 22, 2017 12:58 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 22, 2017 6:16 P.M.)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- In predawn raids Wednesday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli forces detained at least 23 Palestinians and seized three vehicles, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.

Scores of Israeli forces raided Aida refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem before dawn to detain one person, identified by locals as 20-year-old Muhammad Imad al-Azraq, after some 20 soldiers broke into and searched his family’s home, seizing his mobile phone, while some 20 other soldiers were stationed on the roof of the house.

20-year-old Muhammad Imad al-Azraq from Aida refugee camp

Sources added that Israeli soldiers also raided and searched stores in the camp belonging to Abu Khalil Qunneis.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that one person was detained in Aida, and informed Ma’an of another Palestinian who was detained in the Bethlehem area town of Harmala, and another detention in the town of Hizma in the central Jerusalem district.

Also in the south, Israeli forces raided the town of Dura in the Hebron district and searched the house of legislative council member Nayif al-Rujoub, detained two Palestinians, and confiscated three vehicles.

Locals said that Israeli forces raided and thoroughly searched al-Rujoub’s house before seizing his vehicle, while Israeli troops also raided and searched his office located elsewhere in Dura.

Israeli soldiers also confiscated a vehicle belonging to Rizq al-Rujoub and a vehicle belonging to Imad Jadallah, both identified by locals as former prisoners.

During the raid in Dura, Israeli forces detained two former prisoners after searching their houses. Locals identified the two as Youssif Abu Ras and Basel Dudin.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian identified by locals in Hebron as Abdullah Azzam Azmi Hassouneh was also detained at the so-called Container checkpoint while he was returning to Hebron from Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed the detentions of Abu Ras and Dudin in Dura, adding Khalaf al-Atiri, Ayham Ahmad Amr, Yaqoub Muhammad al-Hih, Ahmad Ismail Ghneimat, and Shihab al-Titi from the Hebron district. The circumstances around the detention of al-Titi and Hassouneh seemed to indicate that they may be the same person.

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, only two Palestinians were detained in the Hebron district in overnight raids.

In the northern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces raided the town of Beita and detained the mother of a shooting attack suspect, in addition to four other Palestinians.

Secretary of the Fatah movement in Beita Bashar Khreiwish told Ma’an that more than 15 Israeli military vehicles raided the western part of the village at around 1 a.m. Wednesday and detained 38-year-old Judeh Abu Mazen from her house.

Abu Mazen is the mother of 19-year-old Sadeq Abu Mazen, who was detained on Feb. 9 for carrying out a shooting attacking in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva that left six Israelis injured.

PPS said that Israeli forces detained four other Palestinians in Beita, identifying them as Nimr Samer Bani Shamseh, 18, Nassim Daoud Ibrahim Bani Shamseh, 20, Dureid Abed Ibrahim Bani Shamseh, 21, and Samer Zaki Snubar. The Israeli army confirmed the detention of five Palestinians in Beita.

At least three other Palestinians have been detained in Beita in the wake of the shooting. Since a wave of violence broke out in October 2015, Israeli forces have targeted the family members of Palestinians accused of carrying attacks though detentions, the revocation of travel and work permits, and punitive home demolitions, in what rights groups have deemed a policy of “collective punishment,” in violation of international law.

Separately, Israeli forces raided the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank and detained former Palestinian prisoner Zakariya Ammar, 43, and Muhammad Bassam al-Arabi after raiding his house, PPS said.

Zakariya Ammar

An Israeli army spokesperson said that two Palestinians were detained in Jenin during the predawn raids.

PPS also reported the detention of six Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, without identifying them

Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 100 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were detained in Israeli prisons as of January.

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